Old World Blues is the third expansion to hit New Vegas, and this one is arguably the pick of the bunch. While Dead Money and Honest Hearts were far from bad, neither had that extra spark to make them essential downloads, whereas this latest offering attempts to deliver a little something more to the apocalyptic wasteland. As you would expect, it features its own unique story arc as you wake up and find that you’ve had your brain and innards removed. the story takes place at Big Mountain, a pre-war facility turned zany science lab which is also responsible for a large slice of the beasties roaming around. Upon discovering you’re alive, the scientists assign you to various quests, which is what provides the meat of the DLC.
Perhaps one of Old World Blues’ strengths is that unlike some other parts of the Fallout universe, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the scientists that hold you captive to arch nemesis Dr Mobius, there’s some good stuff running throughout. The script will actually make you laugh if you have any sense of humour at all, and overall probably provides some of the funniest lines in any Fallout game/DLC so far.
As far as the gameplay side of things goes, it’s pretty much New Vegas as you know it. The usual fetch-a-thon is as prominent as ever, and as the norm with the DLC the level cap is raised by a further five. Abilities wise, there are a couple of neat new body-related perks including ‘Cardiac Arrest’ (which bolsters defense by resisting poison and robot damage) and ‘Reinforced Spine’ which makes crushing stuff all the more easy, but nothing that’s really a game changer.
If the new moves aren’t enough for you, this time around there’s no limit as to what you bring over from your main adventure, so you can unleash merry hell any way you like. Upgrades and items can be purchased at nearly any time from The Sink, and it also doubles as a place where you can take on the odd side quest as a result of upgrading particular appliances. There’s also a lack of companions this time around, it’s just you against the world. And it’s not easy going either, there are Radscorpions, Nightstalkers and whole host of other creatures to contend with, so it’s recommend you get to a decent level before even attempting to step foot into the Old World.
It’s time for the most obvious part of the review, hence why it was saved until last. As I’m sure you’re WELL aware, Fallout has always suffered from some, shall we say, ‘minor technical issues’. Minor in this sense referring to spinning heads, evaporating people and objects, as well as the inability to complete certain quests. While I didn’t notice anything game breaking in my time with Old World Blues, there were some technical gripes. Firstly, the game seems to chug along like it’s about to freeze at times (which it actually did but only once, a new Fallout record), and makes it feel like you’re walking through a pit of treacle – with added glue. Then there’s some less bothering visual glitches such as parts of the scenery going a bit mental, but at least it doesn’t freeze while you’re walking along as normal.
Overall, if you’ve enjoyed the New Vegas experience so far, then Old World Blues should be right up your street. The strength of the script alone makes it stand head and shoulders above not only the other two DLC packs but arguably a lot of the core game. While there’s little new in terms of features, odds are if you’ve beaten New Vegas already you won’t be bothered by just a little bit more fetching for random scientists. Glitches rear their ugly heads once again, but that shouldn’t stop you spending some time in Big Mountain.